Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Brief Primer of Circus Terms - Part I

It's amazing how busy one can get even when life is lived a week at a time with several days off.  From Omaha through Las Vegas, train runs were long enough for several blog entries loads of laundry, lots of picture taking and the work that needed to be done.

After a busy week in Las Vegas (where I also didn't see my bed before 4 am most nights), then a short hop to Tucson and now onto Phoenix (don't worry, I'll backfill the blog entries.  I have tons of pictures, thoughts, stories, etc. that I just haven't gotten around to) I realized while writing a blog entry that was relatively full of circus jargon that it would probably be give a brief primer of important terms instead of trying to define terms as I went.

Important Terms to Know:

Train Run: This is when the train is moving, from when the train crew locks the train down to until the train is spotted.

Train Spotted: The end of the train run, when the train has arrived - "The Train was Spotted at 9 AM in Tucson".  This is the point when we can start "load in"

Load-In: Moving everything from the train to the venue so we can start setting up the majority of the show (there are steps before this, but I'm not really involved in them so there probably won't be a lot of detail on pre-rig and such)

Load-Out: Moving everything from the venue back onto the train.  At the end of load in, the train gets locked up and we roll out of town.

Dark Day/Week - When the show gets a dark day, almost everybody gets that day off because there is now show. Great, right?  Even better is a dark week, which is an entire week without shows.  These are rare, right now the only dark week scheduled (outside winter quarters) is in about 5 months.

Winter Quarters: For about a month, the show basically shuts down in Florida, this gives performers and most of the crew time to go home, see family, take a vacation, etc.  This is a time when the show also can retool, refurbish equipment, props, sets, etc. and also gives the train crews a chance to fix things on the train without being concerned about moving the train in a couple days.

Wagon: A Wagon is what we move almost everything in, work out of, etc.  For example, my "office" is 16 wagon.  Lighting works out of 30 wagon, etc.  The numerous white trailers with the show name on them in many of the pictures are different wagons.  The wagons are all towed from the train to the venue by a towing company then arranged so that the show can best operate.  Depending on the venue and how often a given wagon needs to be accessed, wagons are parked outside, inside an exhibit hall (this is generally optimal) or in a loading dock of the venue.

Overland: Any person which doesn't travel on the train.  While this is a slightly superfluous term as the train technically travels "over land" as well, for every show we have a good sized group that travels not on the train.  because it's important for them to be in a city to set up different parts of the show before the train arrives.

As I said, the primer would be brief.  As I realize I'm posting using more and more jargon that nobody outside the show understands, I'll probably do several more parts.

1 comment:

  1. Well Paymaster, I really enjoyed your blog. What there is of it. You should try and complete your whole stint with RBBB or continue it f that is the case. I tripped across one of your pictures from the train coming into Denver from Nebraska on Google. Well I recognized the location (not living far from there) and being an avid railfan (particularly passenger rail) I knew it was taken from a vestibule. So I followed the link. I wound up engrossed it what you have posted. In particular the "run days" and your "private car". I only wished I was 40 years younger! I would have made some very different career choices. Your literary skills are great. Everyday language and some good humor too. I particularly loved the "Free The Clowns" vs PETA update! Like I said the blog is great and you should really consider publishing it. Yeah, I am sure available time is probably hard to come by. It could be on the internet or even a small paperback. I am sure the railfan websites would promote. After all "RBBX" is pretty much a cross of freight and passenger railroad. Not to mention the travel log appeals to the wandering souls of the world. I hope you read this and think about it.